Robert Willem Vanderhorst is a self-taught artist with a talent inherited from his father and a technique born of a strong Dutch tradition in art. Emigrating from Holland to Canada in 1951, he now lives in Toronto, Canada. In 1979, he began publishing limited editions of his images under Vanderhorst Graphics. In 1973, he held his first solo exhibition. Over the next three and a half decades, Vanderhorst's imagery has been used in many diverse ways, including in music videos, television programs, live stage productions and record jacket designs, as well as illustrations in psychology journals and aviation book covers. His paintings have been featured in almost thirty exhibitions, culminating in two major retrospectives at the St. Lawrence Hall, Toronto in 2004 and 2005. Vanderhorst's work has also been featured and explored in two DVDs titled View from the Gallery 1 and View from the Gallery 2.
A new book on Vanderhorst's work titled, Thirty Three years Twenty Six Paintings has also just been released. The book includes an introduction and short story, The Yacht Club by famed film director, George A. Romero
Vanderhorst was one of just over a dozen artists to be awarded a commission by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to create an original painting for the new Pearson International Airport. The painting, The Jetliner, depicts the world's first short range jet transport, designed and built in Malton, Ontario, by Avro Canada. Robert has also painted Canada's most famous aircraft, The Avro Arrow. The painting was acquired by Canada's National Aviation Museum in Ottawa and is now part of their permanent art collection.
Vanderhorst's surreal style and detailed imagery appeals to collectors with an eye for art and an open mind. The bizarre imagination and attention to fine detail in the classical paintings of Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali was the initial inspiration for Robert's exploration into surrealism. His work also reflects the influence of three additional artists who he considers masters as well as mentors. The ironic and profound juxtapositions of images of the Belgian surrealist Magritte, the hauntingly mathematical and exacting graphics of M.C. Escher and the superb mastery of light and technique of Vermeer, have provided Vanderhorst with a visual and technical foundation upon which his canvases are built. "With my surrealism, I try to create imagery that makes demands and asks the viewer to participate," says Rob. "The scenes can be confusing and troublesome but still impart an odd sense of cohesion and normalcy."
Highly introspective or simply there to admire, Vanderhorst's work is as thought provoking as you allow it to be.
Nash the Slash (1948 - 2014) was born of silent film. The name is that of a killer butler encountered by Laurel and Hardy in their first film, Do Detectives Think? (1927). With silent music running through his fertile brain, Nash the Slash has continued to give form to his unique concepts of sound and vision for over 30 years. His first live presentation of music to film was a performance set to Salvador Dali's 1926 silent film Un Chien Andalou at the Roxy Theatre in Toronto.
Nash composes and performs on electric violins, electric mandolins, drum machines, and synthesizers. He has been on the cutting edge of electronic music since the early 70s. He has also created his own independent music label, Cut-Throat Productions (a reference to his movie namesake), to retain control of his recorded output.
In 1978, TV Ontario Nightmusic produced a 30-minute show called Nash the Slash Rises Again. The show presented a series of surreal paintings on the screen, gradually revealing all their intricate details to the viewer while Nash performed live. These were the paintings of Robert Vanderhorst, and he and Nash would continue their collaboration for many years.
In 1983, Nash the Slash and Robert Vanderhorst collaborated on a new video project called Bombardiers, a 45-minute presentation of nine of Robert's paintings set to Nash's music. Throughout the 90s, Nash composed film scores, including the music for Bruce McDonald's hit cult films Roadkill and Highway 61. He has also composed music for several silent film classics, giving new life to such early film gems as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919), The Lost World (1925), Nosferatu (1922).
Describing his music for Vanderhorst's paintings, Nash says, "There are many disconnected images occuring in the minute details. The images can be familiar yet unsettling. We both use 'classical' influences -- fine art, form and melody -- juxtaposed to misplacement, distortion, and backward imaging. My music helps to make things connect, thus enhancing the viewing pleasure."